Transregional Collaborative Research Grants


This project seeks to explore the under-researched field of climate-induced hazards and related migration and livelihood challenges in the Indian Ocean littoral by mapping the subjective experiences of migrant families. The study is centred around the question of how environmental refugees in selected coastal communities and urban clusters in India, Bangladesh, Mozambique and Tanzania deal with their agential loss and enhance and use their individual and collective agency to devise new survival strategies in the context of endangered livelihoods. The project aims to develop a trans-boundary comparison between East and Southern African environmental refugees’ experiences with those of South Asian, and to examine the collective experiences of migrants across the four case study countries.

Principal Investigators

Debojyoti Das

Visiting Fellow, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Maratwada University

I am an anthropologist of South Asia focusing on the borderlands of eastern India and the Indian Ocean world; my work is deeply interdisciplinary, bridging my training as an ethnographer with extensive use of visual media and oral sources. My current research focuses on natural disasters, migration and sustainable development issues among marginalised communities in the Indian Ocean region and East Africa. I have interest in transdisciplinary and community focused work which feeds into the use of different qualitative methods and tools for action research. Besides academic peer-reviewed publications, I have contributed to newspapers, blogs, photo exhibitions, seminars and stakeholder’s workshops. I have collaborated with colleagues and institutions working in the Indian Ocean region over the past year since we embarked on the SSRC Transregional Planning Grant. Besides this, I have closely worked with my project team for co-publication of outputs through book chapters and op-ed pieces. I have so far established a pulsating research network with scholars working on climate change and environmental disasters by organizing an environmental refugee webinar series. see: . In February 2021, I organised the SSRC New Paradigm book writing workshop in association with Duke University’s InterAsia connections programme working closely with Professor Prasenjit Duara and Sucheta Mazumdar. I am at present involved in organising another online seminar series on Indian Ocean and Inter Asia connection with Sussex Asia Centre for the 2021 autumn term.

Simi Mehta

CEO and Editorial Director, Impact and Policy Research Institute

Dr. Simi Mehta holds a PhD from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She was a Fulbright Fellow at Ohio State University, USA. Dr. Mehta is the CEO and editorial director of Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), a policy-think tank for evidence-based and action-based research in the social sciences. Among the different specialized centers at IMPRI, the Center for Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (CECCSD) undertakes research to study climate change impacts on society and economy. Under CECCSD, Dr. Mehta leads a program on The State of The Environment #PlanetTalks and has hosted over 40 discussions with distinguished experts under this series. She is the managing editor of the IMPRI flagship journal, the Journal of Development Policy Review. Dr. Mehta represented India in the South Asia Connect program for startup entrepreneurs, at Nexus Startup Hub at the American Center, New Delhi, and was subsequently chosen for the 50-day pre-incubation program at the Center, conducted by the IC2 Institute, University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Mehta's research over the past five years has focussed on sustainable development, climate change, gender justice and food and nutrition security in the Indian Ocean region focusing on India and Bangladesh. In her book titled Lessons on Sustainable Development in India and Bangladesh (Palgrave Macmillan) and the article “On Perils of Climate Change” (Journal of Indian Ocean Region, Routledge), she has focused on inter- and intra-generational equity issues within sustainable development and climate change debate. Her research has also been in conversation with questions of food and nutrition security upon the vulnerable population and its linkages with climate change. She leads several research projects and actively engages with policymakers, institutions and civil society groups to build resilience and mitigate the socio-economic and environmental challenges in the Indian sub-continent and beyond. Dr. Mehta has over 100 publications in books, book chapters, journals, and print and electronic media.

Stephen O Maluka

Associate Professor of Public Health, University of Dar es Salaam

I am associate professor of public health at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I have been involved in a number of multi-country research projects across East Africa on health policy and systems including the following: Strengthening fairness and accountability in health systems priority setting at district level; Supporting decentralized management to improve health workforce performance; Understanding the effect of the takeover of informal sector health insurance scheme by a formal sector scheme on universal coverage in terms of risk pooling and purchasing; Universal health coverage in Tanzania and South Africa: Monitoring and evaluating progress; Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa; Improving access to health services and quality of care for Mothers and Children in Tanzania under the Innovating for maternal and Child Programme in Africa; Engaging non-state providers towards universal health coverage in Tanzania; and Examining effects of decision-making space on health systems performance in Tanzania (RIGHT). I have published more than 40 articles on various public health issues in international peer-reviewed journals and I am working closely with the PI and Co-Pi’s since the planning grant started last year.